ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - January 2001


Surviving in The New Economy: From virtual workplaces to technology overload, this special feature takes an in-depth look at the changing demands of our workplaces and world.

  In This Issue...

Celebrating the Power of People
Tricks of the Trade—Unique Tranining Ideas
Views For A Change
Pageturners: Flawless Consulting Fieldbook

 One From Column B —
I Will Survive

 Peter Block explains why the new economy is just an economy, and why our relationships and our senses promise survival .

  Surviving In The New   Economy:

Working In A Virtual World
Defining The New Economy
Penny Sanchez- Burruss and Barry Johson, Ph.D

The 24/7 Work Invasion
Info, Info, Everywhere!
Brief Cases
Tips: It's About Time and Finding Time


Return to NFC Index

Views For A Change

Consultant Q&A

David Farrell Responds:

I define a "PIT" as an ad hoc team of relatively short duration formed to capitalize on group knowledge to improve business or production processes. Frequently led by the process "owner," it develops process improvement recommendations, usually for approval by the existing organizational hierarchy.

  A "natural team" is composed of members of an existing work unit, often-not always-led by the unit manager or supervisor, requiring no significant change in organizational structure, but requiring the willingness and ability to lead collaboratively.

  The key differentiator in "self-directed teams" is the substantial on-going delegation of supervisory roles to group members, significantly altering the manager's or supervisor's responsibility, or even their very existence.


Culture: If the culture's values, beliefs and behaviors are not aligned with the changes you seek, it is axiomatic that success requires that the organization either change the culture or change the change.

Fear: Senior management fears loss of control; organized labor fears erosion of their power base or impact on matters reserved for collective bargaining; supervision fears job security, ability to cope with new roles; and work force fears lack of clear direction; to name a few.

Inadequate Sponsorship: Success requires sponsorship equal to the challenge, beginning at the top and cascading throughout the organization. Identify voids in sponsorship at middle levels and develop a plan to address them.

Inadequate Skills: Significant new competencies will be required throughout the organization. Even those who embrace the objectives will need help in developing the skills necessary to achieve them.

Labor-Management Relationships: All too often, these relationships are characterized by a contest to determine how to split up the pie, as distinguished from a collaborative effort to create a larger pie.


Organizations demonstrating high levels of achievement in the journey toward natural and self-directed teams have attributed their success to anticipating and thorough planning to address their obstacles, and to the following:

Using team charters with every team-developed collaboratively, identifying objectives, organization, clear roles and responsibilities, ground rules, etc.

Applying what they learned about the value of facilitation while working with process improvement teams to all teams.

Using the facilitator role as a transitional strategy for supervisors whose role will be changed or eliminated and to ease the team transition to increased autonomy.

Developing and implementing alternative career paths for those whose position becomes excess.

Proceeding gradually, adding new responsibilities over time as competencies mature.

Taking advantage of differing individual strengths as new roles are assigned to team members.

Paying attention to measurement and posting team progress charts on a regular basis.

Employing creative approaches to recognition of successful teams.

Periodic self-assessment, using the teams themselves as focus groups.

DAVID FARRELL is a senior at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. He has assisted organizations of all types and sizes in the design and implementation of improvement strategies and processes throughout the world. He is the author of numerous articles ranging from "Quality Function Deployment" to "The Human Side of Quality." His current focus is on the management of change and ISO initiatives.

John Runyan Responds

Question for Consultants

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